The “Uma Diya Janani” multipurpose development project, marked as a significant irrigation initiative following the Mahaweli movement, was officially handed over to the public this morning (24) by the Presidents of Iran and Sri Lanka.

Iranian President Dr. Ibrahim Raisi, attending the event at President Ranil Wickremesinghe’s invitation, received a warm welcome.

During the ceremony, both leaders unveiled a commemorative plaque and inaugurated the project, initiating the operation of electricity generators through digital technology.

President Ranil Wickremesinghe expressed gratitude to Iran for their indispensable support, highlighting that without it, Sri Lanka couldn’t have diverted water from Uma Oya to Kirindi Oya.

He emphasized Sri Lanka’s commitment to strengthening ties with Iran.

Reflecting on the shared aspirations of the Global South for their unique identity and independence, President Wickremesinghe stressed the importance of solidarity among these nations.

President Ibrahim Raisi of Iran underscored that the project symbolizes not only the friendship between Iran and Sri Lanka but also signifies enhanced cooperation, integration, harmony, and unity among Asian nations.

The President of Iran affirmed Iran’s readiness to foster a strong partnership with Sri Lanka and expressed Iran’s willingness to contribute to Sri Lanka’s progress and development through the provision of technical and engineering services for large-scale projects.

Iran’s President, accompanied by First Lady Jamile Sadat Alamolhoda, arrived in Sri Lanka from the Mattala Airport this morning (24) to attend the inauguration of the project.


Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena and other ministers warmly welcomed the Iranian delegation.

President Raisi’s one-day official visit to Sri Lanka marks the first visit by an Iranian President since former Iranian President Mohammad Ahmadinejad’s visit in April 2008.

As part of his visit, the Iranian president left a commemorative message in the guest book at the Mattala International Airport.

The Uma Oya project stands as a flagship initiative of national significance in Sri Lanka.

Its primary aim is to divert approximately 145 million cubic meters of excess water annually from the Uma Oya basin to the Kirindi Oya basin, addressing the issue of water scarcity in the south-eastern dry zone without adverse effects on the environment or water sources.


This initiative will facilitate irrigation for around 4,500 hectares of new land and 1,500 hectares of existing agricultural land in the Monaragala district. Additionally, it will fulfil the drinking and industrial water requirements of Badulla, Monaragala, and Hambantota areas, providing approximately 39 million cubic meters of water annually.


Furthermore, the project will contribute to the national electricity supply by generating 290 gigawatt hours of electrical capacity each year.

Key components of the project include the construction of two reservoirs, Puhulpola and Dyaraba, a 3.98 km connector tunnel linking the reservoirs, a 15.2 km main tunnel, an underground power plant, transmission lines, and associated infrastructure.

The project was undertaken by Iran’s FARAB Engineering Company, with a total contract value of USD 514 million and it commenced on March 15, 2010.

Furthermore, the Uma Oya Multipurpose Development Project addresses the challenge of providing water for both drinking and industrial purposes in Bandarawela and Wellawaya areas.

President Wickremesinghe, speaking further, added:

I express gratitude to the Iranian President for accepting our invitation and participating in handing over this project to the people. It brings our nations closer. This was started by our two predecessors.

It’s worth noting that this project was launched by the previous leaders who were in power before I assumed office. Additionally, former President Mahinda Rajapaksa expressed particular enthusiasm for this initiative aimed at supplying water to this dry zone. Former Speaker Chamal Rajapaksa took on the task of overseeing the completion of this project.

We have to face many challenges when implementing the Uma Oya Multipurpose Development Project. Both our countries have good experience in facing challenges. So we faced them successfully.

Moreover, the Uma Oya project is a great combination of both countries. It has ancient irrigation practices of both Persia in Iran and Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka. It’s important to note that the transfer of water from Uma Oya to Kirindi Oya is not feasible due to a lack of technical expertise from Iran.

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Iran’s technological prowess has spread across all fields. It should also be said that Iran is a country that maintains its own technological development. Therefore, we should strengthen the common points of both countries. We are all countries of the Global South. Such projects are very important at a time when the countries of the Global South are establishing their identity and independence.


The Uma Oya Multipurpose Development Project, spearheaded by Iran, has played a vital role in providing water to the inhabitants of our country’s dry zones. This initiative has instilled a sense of hope among the people for a better future.

Ensuring access to water in dry zones like Giruwapaththu and Magampaththu is essential for the survival and well-being of the communities living in those areas. Today, our efforts are directed towards extending the multipurpose system from Udawalawe to Kirindi, addressing this critical need. Additionally, we are embarking on the establishment of a new investment zone in the Hambanthota district, a venture that includes the approval of a fuel refinery by China’s Sinopec. This strategic move promises to invigorate the economy of the Hambanthota district.

This multipurpose development project aims to empower farmers to cultivate 6000 hectares of land in both Yala and Maha seasons. Notably, the Udawalawa area stands as Sri Lanka’s prime rice-producing area. With our sights set on extending similar endeavours to the Hambanthota area, we anticipate launching an agricultural modernization program in the southern province. Moreover, this endeavour promises substantial contributions to the energy sector.

Furthermore, the project will generate 120 megawatts of hydroelectric power. As developing countries in the Global South, Iran and Sri Lanka have jointly implemented this program. Accordingly, I affirm our commitment to fostering stronger ties between Iran and Sri Lanka, moving forward with purpose.

President of Iran, Dr. Raisi also said:

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"I extend my gratitude to Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe for inviting me to participate in this event. It is indeed a tremendous honour to be involved in such a symbol of unity, one that deepens the bond between our nations.


It is worth noting that this project stands as a testimony to the friendship shared between Iran and Sri Lanka. Today marks the official inauguration of this remarkable multipurpose development program. However, I believe that the main point of this is fostering utmost cooperation, integration, harmony, and unity not only between our two countries and among the nations across the Asian region.


It’s important to emphasize that the resolve and commitment of the people in both our nations outweigh the completion of this project.

President Mr. Ranil Wickremesinghe, I would like to express that the Islamic Republic of Iran stands prepared to share its contemporary technological expertise with Sri Lanka.

Furthermore, we affirm our readiness to impart the knowledge acquired by Iran over the past 45 years to foster the advancement and development of Sri Lanka. I assure you that Iran is eager to forge a strong partnership with Sri Lanka, poised to contribute to its growth and development. Iran stands prepared to offer technical and engineering services for significant development initiatives in Sri Lanka.

Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, Ministers Nimal Siripala de Silva, Ali Sabry, Mahinda Amaraweera, Kanchana Wijesekera, State Ministers, Tharaka Balasuriya, Vijitha Berugoda, Indika Anuruddha, Siripala Gamlath, D.V. Chanaka, Thenuka Vidanagamage, Uva Provincial Governor of Uva A.J.M. Muzammil, Southern Provincial Governor Willy Gamage, Eastern Provoncial Governor Senthil Thondaman, MPs Chamal Rajapaksa, Rauff Hakeem, Vadivel Suresh, Sudarshana Denipitiya, Tissa Kuttiarachchi, D. Weerasingha, A.L.M. Athaullah, Yadamini Gunawardena, Iran Delegationheaded by Iran Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian and Iran Ambassador in Sri Lanka Alireza Delkhosh and a number of guests were present at the event.

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